New York State encourages the use of living shorelines or natural/nature-based features (NNBF), where appropriate, as alternatives to traditional shoreline armoring. NNBF offer opportunities to reduce risk from flooding and erosion while also being more adaptable to changing conditions and providing additional benefits such as habitat provision. Little information has been collected to allow for comparative analysis of the performance and benefits of varying shoreline treatments. The “Statewide Shoreline Monitoring Framework”, sponsored by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Department of State (DOS), and New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), was advanced with the aim of developing standardized shoreline monitoring protocols for NYS. The main objective of this Framework is to help decision makers determine which benefits are realized at shoreline sites.
Throughout the development of the framework, the intention was to make the report and associated protocols/field worksheets accessible to a wide range of potential user groups. The primary audience are private, non-governmental organizations, and public sector shoreline managers in New York State. Shoreline managers include anyone involved in the implementation or management of NYS shorelines.
The development of the Monitoring Framework was jointly managed by DOS with a grant from NOAA and additional funding and support from NYSERDA. The effort, led by the Science and Resilience Institute at Jamaica Bay and several partners, brought together a high-level literature review, technical expert working groups, regional stakeholder, regulatory, and advisory council input, and experience from one season of pilot field data collection at 16 sites across the State. Robust stakeholder engagement was included throughout the process.
The Science and Resilience Institute at Jamaica Bay
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
New York City Department of Parks and Recreation
Consensus Building Institute
United States Forest Service – NYC Urban Field Station
New York Sea Grant
New York-New Jersey Harbor and Estuary Program
SCAPE Landscape Architecture
New York State Water Resources Institute/Cornell University
Development and implementation of a monitoring framework involves a feedback loop consisting of an evaluation roadmap, monitoring protocols, data collection, analysis, and evaluation. This provides an opportunity to revisit or reassess elements of the framework over time.
Evaluation Roadmap: Establishes an agreed-upon set of performance parameters for shoreline features against which the performance of these features can be comparatively evaluated. These parameters can relate to specific metrics or indices that specify what you would measure to track achievement of, or progress towards, such parameters.
Monitoring Protocols: Agreed-upon methods for gathering comparable data about various shoreline features relevant to identified performance parameters and indicators/metrics. The framework allows for the selection, development, and prioritization of relevant monitoring protocols.
Data Collection: Includes collection of relevant long-term data sets by a network of monitoring partners.
Analysis: Considers what was learned from what was observed.
Evaluation: Explores how the feature monitored performed relative to performance parameters and the services or benefits that the shoreline feature provided.
The final monitoring framework focuses on three resilience service areas or shoreline feature functions: (1) Ecological Function, (2) Hazard Mitigation/Structural Integrity, and (3) Socio- Economic factors. Through expert technical knowledge and heavy stakeholder engagement, the final performance parameters and indicators/metrics led to the development of 17 distinct monitoring protocols.
In addition to development of the Monitoring Framework Report, a basic database was developed in order to house and analyze collected data. Over time, as the framework is used and more data is collected, refinements can be made and trends in performance can be assessed. DOS Office of Planning, Development and Community Infrastructure intends to keep the protocols and field sheets updated in accordance with lessons learned in the field, including providing support for additional data collection and refinement of the framework. To provide feedback, email OPD@dos.ny.gov subject line: MONITORING.